Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Round Two

Wal-Mart, where volume battles profit margin. I hate this place. Unimportant, because on this day of days, it was the last place for tire chains. Thirty dollars later, and we made the 172 turns back up the mountain from whence we came, turns we just made an hour earlier. By the time we made it back to chain control, the infallible chain monkey had stepped to the side, allowing all cars through. The sensation of getting through this bottleneck surpassed my will to pull over and strangle every Cal Trans worker with my newly purchases, shiny chains. It barely drove away without a confrontation. Ended being an excellent day, it was forecasted to snow lightly, ended up not snowing at all, sunny, blue bird powder day. Best day of the year. Although, everyday is a good day.

7,000 feet is not that high

The mere thought of fresh snow in Southern California excites me. Accordingly, I was excited to hear that Big Bear Lake would be receiving 6 inches of freshies last week. This excitement gained momentum on its own, and a day later I was driving up to shred some of this metaphorical "gnar". Gnar as in gnarly, as in the kicking turns one will make in this gnarly substance. As I do every morning, I checked the weather and road conditions. And as expected, highway 330 and 18, the two I use to get to Big Bear, were requiring 4 Wheel drive with snow tires OR chains. Typical for this type of conditions. But upon arrival to the chain control area, basking under blue skies and clear roads, I was told that my 4 wheel drive would not be sufficient in these harsh, sunny 50 degrees Fahrenheit conditions. I was told that I would need to backtrack 30 miles to purchase chains, as I would not be let through without them. I reached outside of the window, grabbed the chain monkey by his throat, and proceeded to crush his larynx under immense pressure. And by chain monkey I mean Volvo, and by larynx I mean the steering wheel. I drove down the mountain, fueled with rage, questioning the sheer ability of all California Transportation personnel. I think my pessimism was somewhat legitimate.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Don't pity me though--seriously. It was still a kicking day. Lots of chair stoppages, lots of ambulances, ski patrol earned their keep that day. More blood than I think I have ever seen. I was clearing big kickers, and looking down, and seeing huge red blots on the knuckle, where some foolish skier or rider speed checked at the wrong time, shorted the jump, and went face first into the ice. I learned that long ago--BOMB IT, it feels better.

Mark of Courage

In an attempt to capture some footage for this wonderful class, I snagged a nasty ice patch and wiped out face first. Consequently, I have a beautiful mark under my left eye. Pity me!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I alluded to it in my previous post. But it needs further discussion. What is IT? It controls the lives of hundreds of thousands enthusiasts worldwide. It squeezes itself to the forefront of the minds of rippers, riders, skiers, flyers, and all-out mountain and lake rats. Its a high! No, not the substance traditionally associated with "high", although this demographic certainly isn't ignorant to this subject. They are, however, ignorant in another aspect. These board and stick warriors seem to struggle with the fact that not EVERYONE gets a trip from flying down a frozen mountain at potentially lethal speeds. It doesn't resonate that there are people who don't enjoy being caught inside a set, who don't find happiness being stuffed in a washing machine for 3 minutes as the blue monsters unleash their potential energy. And frankly, I don't either! To me, and the others out there craving a thrill, little matches the euphoric feeling of laying back on your heel edge as the velocity of the boat propels you into the swampy wake, obtaining the feeling of weightlessness, and subsequently hitting the transition on the next wake. Yeah, I don't get it. If you do, please enlighten me.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


Ladies and gentleman, we have precipitation. My good friends at Weather.com and the fine sophisticates of the National Weather Service have finally brought joy to my life. So I guess the next logical question is, since when did the forecast of somewhere 100 miles away affect my mood so strongly? I have no answer. But I have a few guess. 2 years ago, my interest in "board sports" went from tepid to scalding. Along with this came an inherent interest in snow fall, or rather in the quantity and quality of snowfall. But, as my first post suggests, the last two seasons didn't require weather chasing: the weather chased us! This season doesn't bring us that luxury. This season is the drunken aunt who perpetually lights the filter of a cigarette in her drunken stooper. This is the season we want to forget exists, but must embrace everytime we gather as a family, on the chair lifts. Yet this season isn't over. The aunt has not ceased to exist. She can still clean her act up, go to rehab, and pull herself together! So I guess what I am saying is, who wants to help me plan an intervention for the snow season of 2007?